By Danielle Lallement, past president of the Rotary Club of San Francisco Evening
Walking into our district assembly recently, I looked up and saw fellow club members at the top of the bleachers in crazy wigs and big funky glasses, passing out noisemakers. When our president-elect, Ehlan Siddiqi, crossed the stage to receive his pin and banner for his presidential year, we raised the roof with our noisemakers and cheers.
This is just one example of the fun and energy that we are trying to create in our district. Our club may have unconventional ideas, but we are bringing more life and vitality to the organization.
We have learned a number of things through our club’s formation and development, and chief among these is that if we want to attract more people into Rotary, we have to listen to what they want. We have made an effort to be extremely member-focused and flexible.
We are aware that our members have many choices when they decide which organization they would like to support. And many of the competing organizations do not require dues. Because of that, we ask members what they want, take surveys on how we are doing, stay flexible to their needs, and create a fun and warm environment that brings them back.
We have also placed an emphasis on creating a large social network, promoting fellowship, and encouraging many hands-on service projects. My members want to socialize and have fun, create meaningful relationships in both life and business, and make a resounding difference in the world. And ultimately, we want them to feel supported, recognized, encouraged, and important.
So we offer a social event once a month, plan monthly community service events, and take part in international projects (two thus far), allowing members to make a difference and have fun.
And even with our crazy wigs and funny glasses, we still honor the traditions of Rotary and its values. We have simply incorporated newer technology and concepts with the old. I like to think that if Rotary founder Paul Harris were alive today, he would have enjoyed visiting my club, and just maybe, it would have reminded him a little of his own.